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"A demand for philosophy"

interpretation, educational research, and transformative practice

Michael A. Peters

pp. 67-77

This chapter begins by revisiting Marx's famous comment in Theses on Feuerbach that "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it" to view it in light of Heidegger's comment in 1969 rebuting Marx's claim. Heidegger argues that philosophy as interpretation is essential in any concept of social or political change. The chapter moves from the concept of praxis to the concept of practice and the turn to practice in recent theorizing. The notion of practice often figures as an unanalyzable "given" in educational research. It is seen as the bedrock of educational activities that are widely regarded as self-evident. The presuppositions of the term are not analyzed or clarified and rarely is it acknowledged that "theories of practice" not only shape what we accept as "true" and "normal" but also implicitly constitute a set of politico-ethical choices. The chapter makes explicit theories of practice and in particular the influence of Wittgenstein and Heidegger, before following Hubert Dreyfus in distinguishing five competing views of practices and the ethico-political commitments they embody: Stability (Wittgenstein, Bourdieu); Articulation (Hegel, Merleau-Ponty); Appropriative Gathering (Heidegger); Dissemination, Difference (Derrida); Problematization (Foucault). On this basis the chapter distinguishes distinct views of interpretation in educational research, and what it is for. The five views of practice provide a way of categorizing how those different kinds of interpretation enter at every stage of the educational research process.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-9282-0_4

Full citation:

(2015)., "A demand for philosophy": interpretation, educational research, and transformative practice, in P. Smeyers, D. Bridges, N. C. Burbules & M. Griffiths (eds.), International handbook of interpretation in educational research, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 67-77.

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